first published on January 30, 2019 by Josh
On January 30, 1968, the Battle of Hue City started. It is known as one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the entire Vietnam War. In total, eleven battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), four U.S. Army battalions, and three U.S. Marine Corps battalions attacked ten battalions of the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong that had taken up defensive positions inside of the city during the Tet Offensive. During the hard-fought battle, much of the standard operating procedures for military operations in urban terrain still used to this day were developed in real-time against a deadly enemy.
Strategically, Hue City was one of the most vital logistical control points for South Vietnamese and U.S. forces due to the location of a prominent supply route known as Highway 1, and the fact that the city was less than 50 kilometers away from the DMZ. Holding the city as a defensive position that could deny the supply routes of South Vietnamese and U.S. Forces to front-line combat forces was an absolute necessity, and over the course of a month the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong would for American and South Vietnamese forces to fight from house to house in order to regain control of the area.
In total, South Vietnamese forces would suffer 452 killed and 2,123 wounded. American forces would suffer 216 killed and 1,584 wounded. North Vietnamese and Viet Cong casualties remain mostly in question to this day, with sources of NVA and VC KIA ranging from 1,000 to 8,000 combatants killed in action. The civilians of Hue City would suffer the worst. With 844 civilian deaths and 1,900 injuries reported as accidents during the battle, another 4,856 civilians and captured personnel would be executed by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong.
Below is a short video documentary put together by the United States Marine Corps Combat Service Support School. It was created by Sgt. James Skelton.